SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — They helped build the San Francisco 49ers into a Super Bowl contender. On Saturday, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch wished Defense Coordinator Robert Saleh well as he became head coach of the New York Jets.
Shanahan offensive genius and Saleh’s defensive schemes powered the San Francisco 49ers to the 2019 NFC title and a Super Bowl berth where they fell to the Kansas City Chiefs.READ MORE: UPDATE: Phish Fan Injured After Being Fallen On at SF Chase Center Concert Describes Brush with Death
Despite a litany of injuries to key players, Saleh’s defense still finished the disappointing 2020 season as one of the NFL’s top units.
“There is not much I haven’t already said about Robert’s abilities as a coach and as a leader,” Shanahan said in a statement released by the team on Saturday. “As a friend, I respect him greatly and could not be happier for him, Sanaa and their family. Robert helped to build a successful environment that has developed both players and coaches, and we are thankful for everything he brought to the 49ers these last four years. We wish him all the best.”
Lynch, the 49ers GM, had similar praise.
“Robert is a great coach and an even better person,” Lynch said in the same statement. “He’s a gifted leader who has earned the opportunity to direct a team in this League. His contributions to the 49ers over the last four years have helped us establish a culture and a standard that will continue to serve us well. We wish Robert, Sanaa and their entire family the best, and look forward to watching his future accomplishments.”READ MORE: Facebook Paying $4.75M Fine, $9.5M To Victims To Settle DOJ Discrimination Lawsuit
The Jets reached an agreement in principle with the popular 49ers coordinator Thursday night to hire him as their head coach. He replaces Adam Gase, who was fired by on Jan. 3 after going 9-23 in two seasons.
The 41-year-old Saleh emerged as a favorite for the Jets job when he was brought in for a second — and this time, in-person — interview Tuesday night, and those discussions extended into Wednesday. He was the first of the nine known candidates New York interviewed remotely to meet with chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson, team president Hymie Elhai and general manager Joe Douglas at its facility in Florham Park, New Jersey.
Saleh left the Jets and met with Philadelphia, which fired Doug Pederson on Monday. And New York also had an in-person meeting with Tennessee offensive coordinator Arthur Smith on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
After Smith left without a deal, New York had internal discussions and opted to hire Saleh.MORE NEWS: San Francisco, Tourism Industry Offer Cash Rewards To Stop Auto Burglary Fencing Operations
“YESSS SIRRRRRRRRRR,” an excited defensive tackle Quinnen Williams wrote on Twitter.